That mushroom cloud you have seen lately is the Internet detonating at the news that LeBron James is returning to Cleveland. We Frenches are absolutely rabid NBA basketball fans. I came by my love of the game growing up in Kentucky, where virtually every single day I'd play basketball until it was too dark to see the goal. When it snowed, the first thing I'd do was run outside and start shoveling until at least the free-throw line was clear. One of the great disappointments of my childhood was the slow realization that - for all my practice - I was never going to be that good. There's just not much of a market for slow six-foot guards who can't create their own shot.
But I still loved the game. While college ball was a fun diversion, I always saw it as second best, nothing more than an entertaining minor league for the real game, the pro game. Nothing beat Magic and Larry going head to head, or watching Jordan go for 63 in the Boston Garden, or - as I got older - watching Allen Iverson play with speed and quickness I'd never seen before.
Today, with three kids, basketball season is our favorite season. We get NBA League Pass, we drive down to as many Memphis Grizzlies games as we can (our closest team and a great, hustling squad that's truly bonded with the city), and we hang on every second of the playoffs, drawing up brackets like most families do with March Madness. And, yes, my kids are fascinated by the league's stars - following them on Instagram and sharing stories about their lives off the court with almost as much gusto as they share the on-court exploits. more >>
The Obama administration has brought an accused Libyan terrorist named Ahmed Abu Khattala to Washington for trial. His saga reveals how the government views the Islamist threat, and it's discouraging. Fortunately, a much better alternative exists.
Abu Khattala stands accused of taking part in the murder of an ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi in September 2012. After an achingly slow investigation, during which time the suspect lived in the open and defiantly gave media interviews, the American military seized him on June 15. After being transported by sea and air to Washington, D.C., Abu Khattala was jailed, provided with a defense attorney, Michelle Peterson, indicted, arraigned, and, after listening to an Arabic translation of the proceedings, pleaded not guilty to a single charge of conspiracy and requested a halal diet. He potentially faces life in prison.
This scenario presents two problems. First, Abu Khattala enjoys the full panoply of protections offered by the U.S. legal system (he actually was read his Miranda rights, meaning his right to stay silent and to consult with a lawyer), making conviction uncertain. As The New York Times explains, proving the charges against him will be "particularly challenging" because of the circumstances of the attacks, which took place in the midst of a civil war and in a country brimming with hostility to the United States, where concerns about security meant that U.S. law investigators had to wait for weeks to go to the crime scenes to collect evidence, and the prosecution depends on testimony from Libyan witnesses brought over to the United States who may well falter under cross-examination. more >>
Do you remember when President George W. Bush, in 2005, held a summit meeting with the "three amigos" to promote the free movement of people and goods across our borders with Canada and Mexico? The Council on Foreign Relations then spoke of "building a North American community" with a common "security perimeter" and "labor mobility" among our three countries.
Texas planned to build a massive North American Free Trade Agreement superhighway that would begin at its southern border with Mexico and eventually reach northern U.S. cities. The Kansas City Southern Railway bought a Mexican railroad and began branding it as the NAFTA railroad, with the goal of carrying Chinese products from Mexico's Pacific Port of Lazaro Cardenas all the way to Kansas City, Missouri.
The prospect of an economic union with Mexico, which could eventually become a North American Union modeled on the European Union, rightly alarmed many Americans. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was forced to abandon his NAFTA superhighway, and President Barack Obama quietly removed Bush's Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America from the White House website. more >>
Seventy-five percent of current illegal immigrants are coming from countries in Central America, South America, the Middle East, West Africa, China, India, Pakistan and others far beyond Mexico where multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is common and extremely widespread in children and adults. Extensively Drug Resistant TB (XDR-TB) is an even more serious form of TB accounting for about 10 percent of cases in these countries, particularly Central/South America and India. Many illegal border crossers now flooding the U.S. southern border, are carrying an invisible, disease-causing co-traveler: the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium.
MDR-TB does not respond well to treatment, even with complicated and expensive medications that must be taken over a two-year period and can cause severe adverse drug reactions. XDR-TB doesn't respond well even to second-line drugs and therefore is more likely to cause death.
Tuberculosis, or "consumption" as it was called in the past, is a highly contagious disease that killed millions before being essentially eradicated in the U.S. In the 1920s, TB was the 8th leading cause of death in children 1-4 years old. By the 1960s, with improved sanitation, medical care, and antibiotics, TB was drastically reduced. The last remaining TB hospital in the U.S. recently closed its doors. more >>
Despite the heated political debate about whether or not to deport the tens of thousands of immigrants who've entered the U.S. illegally through Texas, Christian charities operating in border states say they're serving those in need with a heart of Christ.
"The need is massive," pastor Chad Mason of Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, told The Christian Post Saturday. "The goal is to do the best we can to serve with the heart of Christ in Matthew 25. We still have a lot of work to do."
Mason estimates that last month alone, Catholic Charities and other volunteers in McAllen helped 6,000 Central Americans who've crossed into Texas seeking refugee status for asylum in the United States. more >>
Wisconsin Governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Scott Walker suggested that the GOP has no interest in making its opposition to gay marriage the forefront of its platform.
"I don't think the Republican Party is fighting it," Walker, who is running for re-election this fall, told the Associated Press on Saturday. "I'm not saying it's not important. But Republicans haven't been talking about this. We've been talking about economic and fiscal issues. It's those on the left that are pushing it."
Gay marriage is currently legal in 19 states. While courts have overturned gay marriage state bans in nine other states, appeals are currently in progress. Wisconsin passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2006, but its ban was recently struck down by a federal judge. more >>